Amazon (1997) Movie Script

Perceptions of the Amazon
are mostly mythical.
But in Amazonia,reality
is more amazing than mythology
South America has the biggest river
Largest forest, the longest mountain range
And the greatest variety of life forms
of all the continents on Earth
Rivers from five nations
Pour into the vast flood land
of equatorial Brazil
To form the greatest moving
mass of fresh water in the world
The Amazon river flows
toward the rising sun
And with it 1/5 of the
continental water on the planet
Among the distant sources of the Amazon
is the timeless land of the Incas
Men of the Kallawaya tribe
were medicine-men to the royal family
In by gone days of an empire
larger than that of Rome
Even now Kallawaya men journey throughout
the Andes healing people with magic and medicinal plants.
Julio Mamani will follow the tradition of its people
It saddens me there was no plant,or magic
that could save my mother when she got sick
Whisper in pukina,the secret language
of the Incas
Mysteries of the healing arts are past
generation to generation
I've made a vow to go to the tropical forest
below our mountain home
And return with plants that will
increase our power
To cure illness and prolong life
Akomani the god mountain of our people
Watches over the kayawaya
And has done so since our
earliest beginnings
It is said that water trickling from the glaciers
of Akomani will be a great river
Sipping the melt of ancient ice
brings rejuvenation
When I reach the tropical forest perhaps
I can trade the glacier water for an unknown elixir
That will prolong life.
Incas once moved the highlands where source
rivers of the Amazon
gouged-out some of the deepest canyons
on Earth
Machu Pichu,the lost city of the incas
lies on the 200 miles as the condor flies
from Mamani's home land
Below the citadel the Urubamba river cuts its canyon ever deeper
on its rush to join the
In a few short miles from mountain peaks
to tropical forests
The traveler passes through as many ecological
zones as on a trip from the north pole to equator.
Below the mountains the trees become
an endless sea of green
Dr. Mark Plotkin is also a medicine-man
Like Mamani he's in search of plants
That will heal humanity ills
He is an ethno-botanist
His hope : to find cures to diseases which
western medicine has not conquered
There's a remarkable connection between
the plants and the people of the forests
Virtually every useful medicinal or agricultural
plant has come to us from the rainforests
Where's first learn from indigenal people
Dr. Plotkin is driven by a dread that some
species may disappear
before their life saving attributes are discovered
In our search for new treatments for the
diseases that plague us
The Amazon represents one of the most
promising places to look.
At the LaCueva de las Sechusas
I can reach the edge of the legendary forest
It seems to me a mystical gateway
to the forest beyond
Mamani has reached the flatland of Amazonia
A region almost large enough to cover
the face of the moon
The Amazon basin is home to the planet
greatest celebration of diversity.
For millions of years
Environmental conditions have been favorable
to a profusion of life
The canopy is largely unexplored
Its upper tip where most of the life goes on
has barely been visited
It averages 50 feet
And amounts to 20.000 cubic miles of
wood,water,air and green leafs
Antonio is a shaman of the kokana people
He,s my friend and my teacher
He's knowledge of the healing properties
of the Amazon forest is extraordinary
No one knows how many species of living things
exist in 2 million square miles of forest canopy
The Amazon houses a gigantic ecological machine
of global importance.
Is a world's resource at risk
The biodiversity of the Amazon is unique.
The only place of its kind in the world
In the light and worm and water
Are millions of different species
And many more perhaps unknown
The Sloth called perezoso or lazy-one in Spanish
Swims as well as most quadrupeds
A jaguar often jumps in to cross
a water way
At 500 pounds the tapir is the largest land
animal native to South America.
In mid-year, Amazon rises to maximum flood
As much as 45 feet above its November minimum
With the deluge,aquatic life invades
the once dry forest floor
The Pirarucu is one of the main food fish
of the Amazon
It can exceed 6 feet in length and
200 pounds in weight
The Pipato is almost invisible
until it eats
Electric eels guile death with 500 volts shock
The Piranha has the sharpest teeth of all
the predatory fish
Of all the creatures of the Amazon,the pink
dolphin is the most celebrated
The thousands of miles of waterways remain
the primary means of travel in the Amazon
The people of the river are known as Kabokos
Part Indian, part Portuguese
Sometimes the blood of Africans
Many are as skillful as the Kallawaya
with herbal remedies
We have much to learn from one another
In our village, we used Kebowei to stop bleeding
Here I have been shown how to dress a wound
with leafs that will coagulate blood
Most remedies and medicinal cures used by the
kobokos come from the Indians
We know that fungus provided the world with
Penicillin and other antibiotics
But the potential of tropical phungae
remains largely unknown
For millions of years the Amazon was
unhabitated by humans
The Indians arrived during the last ice age
Which ended thousands of years ago
After the Europeans arrived 500 years ago
In quest of land,slaves and gold
Indiginous people fled deeper into
the wilderness
More than 400 tribes have been identified
in the Amazon basin
Others may remain undiscovered
With no sense of time beyond tomorrow,they live
in hidding,cradeled in a everlasting present
As late as 1943 the upper ridges of the Xingu
river were largely unexplored
Orlando Villas Bas and his brothers left
Sao Polo with an expedition called
Xingu River adventure
Some things only happen once
in the history of the world
It was a moment in time that
cannot be repeated.
After three years and 3000 km
of a path cut with machetes
We encountered for the first time
the Indian population of the upper Xingu
Very little was known about them and they
know only enough of the outside world to stay hidden as in centuries past
The Villas boys won acclaim for their success
in postponing the bulldozing march of civilization into the Xingu
In time the Villas boys were overcome by
roadbuilders,malaria and old age
But their dream for survival of the Indians
lives on
Sydney Possuelo carries on the legendary work
of the brothers Villas Boas
Sydney's task is to seek out isolated tribes
and promote legislation to keep Indian lands
off-limits to all outsiders
North of the Amazon mainstream
Lives a tribe of Indians known as Zo
I believe the Indians should only be contacted
when is necessary to protect them
It's a dilemma
Do we artificially isolate them ?
Or share the technology of our modern world ?
Sydney was among the first to make
contact with the Zo
Only recently has their presence become known
I am pleased to find no mosquitos,no malaria
and no sickness
Except a woman who had a toothache that her
granddaughter treated with medicinal plants
There is rumor that the Zo encountered
a people living up to the north
A tribal that is unknown to us
Some of the men agree to show me where
the strangers had been seen
When first encountered by jaguar hunters,
the Zo were called Poturu
For the ornamental jaw poturu wood
that Zo wear day and night
We don't know who the others might be
But if they really exist
But if they are there
The gold seekers making their way up the Cuminapanema river are on a collision course
The Zo do not venture into
the forbidden north
Where they say a tribe of giants lives
And the hills of Cuminapanema touch
with stars
If there are uncontacted people
in the northern highlands
I would prefer to leave them alone
But it's critical that those who care about them
be the first to reach them
Mamani research has brought him
to the territory of the Yagua Indians
The Yaguas have had contact with outsiders
for several hundred years
They are a large tribe,known for herbal remedies
It is an exotic potion made from plants
and called curare
Curare is a secret mixture made of flowers and
leafs in different ways by many tribes throughout the Amazon
Dr.MarkPlotkin has been fascinated by the
mysteries of curare poison for many years
Each tribe has its own recipes for curare
I believe that some of them will lead us
to new and effective medicine
In the hands of western physicians curare has
already become an life giving medication
One type is used as a
muscle relaxant
Another as heart medicine
What Western scientists once dismissed as magic
we are now finding to have a real therapeutic effect
Plotkin and other ethno botanists hope to press
and document as many plants as possible
Before the knowledge of the shamans is lost
Learning the jealously guarded secrets of
indigenous shamans requires genuine friendship
And mutual trust
Trading my medicines,music and magic for things
I have needed has allowed me to move freely
With distances so great exchange of a cure for
a very fast ride
Is a very good trade indeed
Herbal markets exist in cities and towns
all-along Amazon and its tributaries
Plants with true curative power hung side by side
with untested elixirs and curious potions
Julio Mamani and Dr.Plotkin are medicine-men
from vastly different worlds
But they share a common quest
Each has come in search of healing secrets
of the Amazon
Each seeks to improve the health of the
human kind
And for an instant time stand still
And two distant worlds are one
Is time to return
I've traded the melted ice of the god mountain
for the medicine of the great forest
I have traded my flute for long ride home
I will miss the beauty of the Amazon
and its many creatures
What wonderful things I have seen
to tell my people
I shall return one day
And if not I
Maybe my son will come
There is so much to learn
And yet so little time
Neither the shaman or the scientist discovered
a magic elixir to end all suffering
But each has gained new knowledge
And discovered cures that will
improve the health of human kind
The Amazon quest has only begun.